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Teacher doubles as author

Novelist writes fiction geared toward teenage boys

Posted: March 24, 2009 1:53 a.m.
Updated: March 24, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Andy Smith, a Canyon High School teacher and rugby coach, signs a copy of his book, "Ghost Medicine."

Canyon High School teacher Andy Smith is putting a new face on fiction geared to teenage boys.

The AP Social Studies teacher and rugby coach splits time as wordsmith, with one book in print and another on its way this year.

Smith's first book, "Ghost Medicine," was recently selected by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults for 2009. Schools in states as far away as Pennsylvania and Minnesota are using the book in the classroom.

Advance reader copies of Smith's second novel, "In the Path of Falling Objects," are just now en route to libraries, booksellers and reviewers.

The novel tells the story of three brothers in New Mexico during the Vietnam War who struggle to hold their family together.

Publication is set for October.

"These are two of the most phenomenal, readable, gripping and original books I've ever read. Every boy will love them," said Casey Cuny, an English teacher at Canyon High who has researched boys and reading.

Both books are published by Macmillan Random House, which acquired the books for audio versions as well. Smith is also in negotiations with Macmillan for three more novels.

The next, "Winger," will most likely land in bookstores in 2010.

Smith said he started writing novels when he became frustrated that most books for teen boys involved fantasy and dragons and magicians.

Knowing boys are notorious for not wanting to read, he wanted to write books for boys about reality and things real boys actually do.


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